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In this Morning Brief, we open up with a call from the European Innovation Council seeking partners for training and financing innovators, the European Space Agency is halting cooperation with Russia on three lunar missions following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has announced 1 billion euro worth of commitments to protect the ocean, Eureka is hosting innovation awards in Lisbon, Portugal this year, and more!  

Any comments or suggestions, hit me up with an email on teresa.carvalho@inesc.pt.

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

European Innovation Council seeks partners for training and financing innovators

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is looking to partner up with start-up accelerators, incubators, and research and technology institutions that can provide their services to EIC-funded start-ups and innovators.

In exchange, the partners will gain access to 6000 researchers and start-ups and 430 research teams, and have opportunities for deals with these up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

The EIC provides its own business support but is looking to expand its current offer with more specialized, sector-focused services, including access to laboratory equipment and research infrastructures, training opportunities, co-creation and business modelling solution, and start-up incubation and acceleration services.

Organizations can apply to partner up with the EIC until 31 May. Click here for more information.


ESA halts cooperation with Russia on three lunar missions

The European Space Agency is withdrawing from Luna-25, -26 and -27 missions as it piles on a new set of sanctions on Russia in reaction to the war in Ukraine.

The three missions led by the Russian space agency Roscosmos planned to use and test ESA equipment, but the space agency is already looking for alternative partners to test the technology. For one, the PROSPECT lunar drill and volatile analysis package, planned for Luna-27, will now go aboard a NASA-led mission. ESA is also looking to test its PILOT-D navigation camera, planned for Luna-25, with the help of a commercial service provider.

Last month, ESA halted cooperation with Roscosmos over the ExoMars mission, which was set to begin its search for signs of past life on Mars this year. The launch has been delayed but a study led by the company Thales Alenia Space is currently assessing how the mission can move forward.

Click here for more information.


Green Deal: EU announces €1 billion worth of commitments to protect the ocean

Yesterday, at the Our Ocean Conference (OOC) in Palau, the EU has renewed its pledges towards international Ocean governance. Presenting a list of 44 commitments for the 2020-2022 period for an amount of almost €1 billion, the EU has brought forward its most important commitments ever offered during an Our Ocean Conference, in terms of value.

The Our Ocean Conference is a key moment for countries across the world, civil society, and industry to commit to concrete and significant actions to protect the ocean. The theme of 2022 edition is ‘Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity’, and it draws global partners to identify solutions to sustainably manage marine resources, increase the ocean’s resilience to climate change and safeguard its health for generations to come.

Find out more in the press release published by the European Commission.


Eureka to host innovation awards in Portugal

At this year’s Global Innovation Summit in Estoril, Portugal, on 22-23 June, Eureka will be presenting five innovation awards to organizations for the ground-breaking products, processes or services developed during a Eureka project.

Between 1 and 29 April, the national funding body will nominate two organizations for each of the organization’s five award categories:

  • Best Product and Service Innovation;
  • Best Sustainability Innovation;
  • Best Thematic Innovation (space-ocean-earth systems);
  • Best Woman in Leadership;
  • Best Portuguese Project.

Nominees will be evaluated by selected experts (including professionals from leading Portuguese organizations and universities) against set criteria and three organizations will be shortlisted for each category before the final award ceremony at the Global Innovation Summit in Estoril, Portugal, on 22-23 June 2022.   


Cleaning Poland’s air: EU hopes for green heating from Warsaw

According to EURACTIV, “As fossil fuels continue to be burned to produce heat, Europe’s air quality suffers. With many of these fossil fuels coming from Russia, EU policymakers are seeing an opportunity to speed up their phase-out. The EU has long been fighting air pollution, starting with the 1980 air quality directive. Pollution caused by burning biomass and fossil fuels has been linked to organ damage. “Right now, hundreds of thousands of Europeans die prematurely due to air pollution,” European Commissioner and Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans said on 5 April. Among the large EU countries, Poland is one of the worst offenders, with its residents most at risk from adverse health effects: outdoor air pollution causes an estimated €228 per household in additional annual healthcare costs in the country, a recent study found. With key sources of pollution being the unfiltered burning of biomass and fossil fuels, the EU’s response to Russia’s war on Ukraine may prove an unexpected boon to air quality. In March, a coalition of Ukrainian, Belarusian and European NGOs noted that “in 2021, the export of timber and wood products from the Russian Federation was $13.9 billion USD.” “Wood from these regions is used to make buildings, paper, clothes and furniture, and to fuel your power plants,” the coalition of more than 120 NGOs added. Poland has already been trying to change its approach. “Replacement of old, inefficient household heat sources should be prioritized,” explained Patryk Demski, vice-president of strategy and development at Polish energy holding Tauron. This would require both “new individual heat sources with the lowest possible emissions” as well as district heating, which is subject to “strict environmental requirements set by EU law,” he added during an event on 30 March.”.


Shaping the climate transition: Citizens take the floor

On 29 April 2022, European citizens will take centre stage and present their recommendations on the Climate Transition, sharing their ideas, concerns and expectations with the European Commission.

Executive Vice-President in charge of the European Green Deal and the first European Climate Law Frans Timmermans will participate in the dialogue with citizens, along with Director-General of DG Research & Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet and Deputy Director-General of DG Clima Clara De La Torre.

The conversation will revolve around what the Climate Transition looks like, according to European citizens, in terms of energy transition, sustainable mobility, and food and consumption. This event represents a key moment for citizen-engagement initiatives launched by the European Commission to foster an open and constructive dialogue on the Climate Transition.

The objective of the event is to learn about citizens’ concerns, views and recommendations, and the trade-offs they are willing to accept for the climate transition. The results of both processes will not only reach the European Commission, but also feed into the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE).

Click here to find out more and how to attend!


Call for applications: Task-and-finish group on the Green Deal for EUA

Following the recent launch of a university vision for the European Green Deal, EUA is setting up a task-and-finish group for its activities in this key area. The group will oversee the development of a roadmap for EUA and provide overall expertise and input for improving the visibility of universities in the Green Deal. The group will be active for a year, starting in summer 2022.

Members of the group will be sought through a call for applications, and the selection will be carried out by the EUA Board. The deadline for nominations is 28 April 2022 and proposals should be sent to sergiu.matei.lucaci@eua.eu. Please refer to the Terms of Reference and call document for detailed information concerning the tasks of the group as well as criteria for membership.


Électricité de France (EDF) announces launch of decarbonized hydrogen plan

According to EURACTIV, “France’s EDF Group has launched a hydrogen plan to develop three gigawatts of electrolytic hydrogen worldwide in an effort to further diversify its activities, the group said on Wednesday. “Tomorrow, we will no longer look at electricity as a commodity but as a choice. Individual choice to give meaning to our consumption in order to control it, to move towards this chosen sobriety, to consider that we are responsible for our own impact, on our own scale, without giving up our well-being,” said EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy announcing the move. The firm has begun to step up its activities to produce renewable energy as part of the path towards clean and decarbonised electricity that does not emit CO2. The aim of the hydrogen plan is to develop three gigawatts of electrolytic hydrogen projects worldwide by 2030 that would mainly be used by the industrial and transport sectors. This will require €2-3 billion in investments “co-financed within the framework of industrial partnerships and benefiting from national and European support mechanisms”, EDF added. The group will also rely on its subsidiary Hynamics, which specialises in the production of electrolytic hydrogen.”.


Artificial intelligence tool could revolutionize neurological diagnoses

Researchers are working on a tool that could ‘transform’ the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and give clinicians an all-important warning ahead of an epileptic seizure. The six-month project is being undertaken at Glasgow Caledonian University thanks to funding from Data Lab and the William Quarrier Epilepsy Centre.

Led by Professor Hadi Larijani, Director of GCU’s SMART Technology Research Centre, the researchers are aiming to create software that will save clinical specialists valuable time in diagnosing patients who are believed to suffer from epilepsy.

The researchers will conduct their study at the 12-bed William Quarrier Epilepsy Centre, using “state-of-the-art” technology.

Professor Larijani said: “Epilepsy diagnosis is a very time-consuming task. Currently, a specialist clinician sits in front of a monitor with live or saved feeds of video footage, with synchronised electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) signals, and must manually identify any potential epileptic seizers from the data feeds. We are seeking to develop a decision-support tool that could help concurrently monitor all of the patients in the centre, thereby improving both the quality and efficiency of diagnosis; triggering an alarm or alert for seizure cases. If successful, this approach could transform the diagnosis and treatment of patients in Scotland and beyond.”

Read more here.

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